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Drilling Your Bowling Ball Finger Holes

When you have a new ball and layout selected, drilling your bowling ball finger holes will be a factor which influences your release.

Because your middle two bowling fingers are inserted down to the first knuckle joint in a fingertip grip, the angles these finger gripping holes are drilled into the ball have affect on your release action and, correspondingly, how your bowling ball will react when traveling down the lane.

Finger hole pitch angles are generally based on how your hand opens and closes. Your pro shop professional typically examines your hand and watches how each finger moves toward the center of the palm of your hand before assigning given pitch angles for hole drilling purposes.

There are four directions finger holes can be angled when drilling the holes.

When the finger holes are drilled with pitches toward the palm of your hand, these type of pitches are commonly referred to a “forward pitches” or as “toward-the-palm pitches.”

If the finger holes are drilled at angle away from the palm of the hand, then these type of pitches are commonly known as “away from palm pitches” or as “reverse pitches.”

When your finger pitch angles are drilled at right or left directions, the type of delivery action your fingers impart on your bowling ball will vary slightly.

If you are a right handed bowler, right pitch angles encourage a finger turning motion which helps produce increased axis tilt on your ball.

Left pitch angles encourage your staying behind the ball, reduced finger rotation, and reduces axis tilt. Reduced axis tilt produces forward roll, or end-over-end appearing motion, on your ball.

Left or right pitch angles vary for each of your two gripping fingers because of the way your hand opens and closes naturally when making a fist.

Pro shop professionals can use these pitch angles to help you achieve a release producing a desired amount of axis tilt imparted on your ball.

Each bowler has a unique hand and the fingers and thumb open and close differently.

Since pitch angles influence your release motion, it is important your ball driller take into account your delivery style, the type of ball you are drilling and the layout, the lane conditions where you bowl frequently, and choose finger pitches to enhance your release.


There are no guaranteed drilling angles in finger gripping holes which work the same for every bowler on all lane conditions. Some experimentation is necessary to determine the best pitches for your game.

Establishing a good working relationship with your pro shop professional is critical. When choosing pitch angles, your ball driller will need to know your game and should watch you bowl carefully before selecting the precise angles in setting up the drill press.

As a rule of thumb, your pitch angles should be compatible with your chosen drilling layout and with your desired ball motion.